Sandra Tsing Loh has a problem when "nature calls" at the Rose Parade.
Parades make me sullen. At last year’s Rose Parade, I had my children and their cousins to blame for having to be somewhere at the crack of dawn on New Year’s morning. This year, it was my partner Charles. He had—quote unquote—“won” two Rose Parade bleacher seats in a silent auction, and the kids didn’t want to go. It’s not that they’re blasé about an event that’s walking distance from our house, it’s just that they’ve come to prefer the Doo Dah Parade, which is shorter and funnier.
But Charles did not want to—quote unquote—“waste” the bleacher seats, so here I was on Colorado Boulevard at 6:30 in the morning. Why you had to show up that early for reserved seats was a mystery, but Charles had no answers, only questions. “Where are the people selling coffee?” he asked, as we huddled on our cold metal bench. “Should I go get us coffee?”
“Not unless you remembered to put on an adult diaper,” I told him. Because the porta-potty lines are several blocks long, prepping for the Rose Parade is like surgery. You should ingest no liquids after midnight. I won’t lie, as a middle-aged lady, I have been known—when too much coffee meets too much traffic—to pull over into an alley to relieve myself, but on Rose Parade day every square foot of Pasadena is patrolled by cops and covered with teddy bears, blankets, and people from Wisconsin! Yoiks!
But of course, when the parade starts, I do enjoy it—not because it’s exciting but because it’s predictable. You have those wonderfully arcane “City of” floats. Winner of the “Fantasy” trophy—City of Burbank! Of Course. City of Torrance—apparently world famous—for its rocketry! You have Sierra Madre, Alhambra, even Glendale. All a perplexed Charles could say of that float was: “Glendale. Well, it’s about what we would expect from Glendale.”
Every year, I have the same questions. I know the Lion’s Club and Rotarians, but what are Odd Fellows and Rebekahs? Why are Wisconsin Badger marching band pants so short? Why is the Bob Hope Humor Trophy always somehow related to penguins in tuxedos? Why do humans find this hilarious?
Every year, there is the self-designated poop-watcher. “Oh no—they’re going to step in it!” the little girl behind me keeps shrieking, every time a high school marching band follows a group of Arabian horses.
And at the end, we now always have JESUS SAVES guys marching side by side with the Occupy hippies protesting Wells Fargo, a Rose Parade sponsor.
Fun for the whole family, so—ah—I guess I’ll see you next year. Unhydrated.